Header Item Written Answers Nos. 91-98
 Header Item Garda Deployment
 Header Item Prisoner Data
 Header Item Migrant Integration
 Header Item Immigration Policy
 Header Item Migrant Integration
 Header Item Human Rights
 Header Item Visa Applications

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 950 No. 1
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 99 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 91-98

Garda Deployment

 91. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald when the expected reconfiguration of the traffic corps will be in place; if alcohol breath tests are still being undertaken and recorded on the PULSE system; if so, when this data will be made available; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22191/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I have requested a Garda report on the matter referred to in the Deputy's question and will contact the Deputy directly on receipt of a Garda report.

The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 42A

  I refer to Parliamentary Question No. 91 for answer on Wednesday, 10 May 2017, in which you requested when the expected reconfiguration of the traffic corps will be in place; if alcohol breath tests are still being undertaken and recorded on the PULSE system; and if so, when this data will be made available.

  As you will recall, the information you requested could not be obtained in the time available, and I undertook to contact you again directly on receipt of a report from An Garda Síochána.

  I am informed by the Garda authorities that a proposal in respect of the reconfiguration of the Traffic Corps is currently being developed. An Garda Síochána will liaise with the Policing Authority in respect of the reconfiguration. It is anticipated that the reconfiguration will be completed before the end of 2017.

  An Garda Síochána is still recording breath test data on the PULSE system, however this data will not be published until all investigations is respect of this issue are complete.

  I hope this information is of assistance.

Prisoner Data

 92. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the number of Republican prisoners on remand in E Wing in Portlaoise; the length of time in each case; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22196/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I am informed by the Irish Prison Service that as of Monday 8 May 2017, there were a total of 39 subversive prisoners in custody in Portlaoise. There are 8 subversive prisoners awaiting trial. The table below outlines the length of time each of these 8 prisoners have been in custody rounded to the nearest year and months.

Case
Date committed
Length of time in custody
1
24.05.2016
11 months
2
24.05.2016
11 months
3.
16.05.2015
2 years
4.
17.12.2016 **
5 months
5.
17.12.2016
5 months
6.
24.04.2017
1 month
7.
03.03.2017
2 months
8.
17.12.2016
5 months
  ** (also received a sentence)

  Subversive prisoners are located in the maximum security Portlaoise Prison which, in addition to the usual perimeter security, has an armed military presence. My officials closely monitor this category of prisoner to ensure good order and security in Portlaoise Prison and also in the context of the individual prisoners sentence management.

Migrant Integration

 93. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the first priority of the Migrant Integration Strategy is that the basic values of society are respected by all; and the details of these values. [22277/17]

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): Information on David Stanton Zoom on David Stanton The Migrant Integration Strategy sets as its vision that migrants are facilitated to play a full role in Irish society, that integration is a core principle of Irish life and that Irish society and institutions work together to promote integration. It includes as one of 12 key elements that the basic values of Irish society are respected by all. The definition of integration in the Strategy, which recognises the right of migrants to give expression to their own culture in a manner that does not conflict with the basic values of Irish society, indicates that the basic values are those "reflected in Ireland's Constitution and in law".

Immigration Policy

 94. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald her plans to address the issue of undocumented migrants here. [22278/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I am on record in the House many times previously, most recently on 30 March 2017, when I said that I have no plans to introduce a general regularisation scheme for those who are currently illegally in the State. Any such proposal could give rise to very large, unpredictable and potentially very costly impacts across the full range of public and social services, particularly as there may well be significant implications for the operation of the Common Travel Area, in the context of Britain withdrawing from the European Union. Any proposal in this regard would have to be very carefully considered.

  In addition, at the European level, Ireland together with the other Member States of the European Union has committed under the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum agreed at the European Council in October 2008 "to use only case-by-case regularisation, rather than generalised regularisation, under national law, for humanitarian or economic reasons". While the Pact is not legally binding, the political commitment among Member States, then and now, is clearly against any form of process that would in any way legitimise the status of those unlawfully present without first examining the merits of their individual cases.   

  The Deputy will appreciate that, in most cases, a person becomes undocumented through their own actions by deciding not to leave the State when they no longer have a valid immigration permission. Such persons are always free to present their case, on its own merits, to the immigration authorities and it is reasonable for the State to expect that persons concerned would respect the final decision.

Migrant Integration

 95. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if she will refrain from imposing language tests as a criterion of citizenship. [22279/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald It is recognised that an essential tool to facilitate integration into host communities and to enable access to various State and other services is through a basic working knowledge of the language in everyday use. As the Deputy may be aware, the Migrant Integration Strategy, published by my Department earlier this year, includes a commitment that the introduction of civic and language tests for those seeking citizenship will be examined. This work on this is at a very early stage and I expect will involve public consultation at the appropriate stage.

Human Rights

 96. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin Information on Eoin Ó Broin Zoom on Eoin Ó Broin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if the State is a party to the European Co-operation Group on Undercover Activities; and if so, the way it is ensured that the activities of this group are in compliance with articles of the European Convention on Human Rights (details supplied). [22313/17]

 97. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin Information on Eoin Ó Broin Zoom on Eoin Ó Broin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald if the operations of a person (details supplied) were sanctioned by Ireland under the European Co-operation Group on Undercover Activities. [22314/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I propose to take Questions Nos. 96 and 97 together.

As the European co-operation group to which the Deputy refers is an informal mechanism for police co-operation it is not an international arrangement by its very nature to which the State could be a party. Any involvement in a mechanism such as that would be an operational matter for police services.

I am advised by the Garda Authorities that An Garda Síochána co-operates with other police services on intelligence-related matters as circumstances dictate. This is, of course, to be expected given that intelligence gathering and sharing are fundamental duties of any police service. Any arrangements that may be made are subject to operational requirements; they are governed by strict protocols relating to conduct and confidentiality and must, of course, in all circumstances operate in accordance with the law. I would emphasise the point I have made previously that there can be no question of any person being permitted to engage in criminal activities here in any circumstances. Neither is there any question of a police officer from outside the jurisdiction exercising police powers here.

As the Deputy will be aware, allegations regarding a UK undercover police officer in this jurisdiction were first made public in 2011. A report was sought from the Garda Commissioner on the matter at that time and that report was provided to my predecessor in March 2011. The report noted that no evidence had been established that the person in question had been involved in any criminal activity while in this jurisdiction. That said, if any evidence of any criminal wrongdoing is available it should be brought to the Garda Authorities in order that it might be fully investigated.

In the light of developments that have taken place outside this jurisdiction since these matters first came to light, including the establishment by the British Government of an undercover policing inquiry, I sought a fresh report from the Garda Commissioner on any issues arising. The Garda Authorities are in ongoing contact in this regard with their counterparts in the UK and I will fully consider this report when it is available.

Visa Applications

 98. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald the status of a visa for a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22325/17]

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I am advised by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department that the processing times referred to relate to a separate type of visa application which is to join a family member who is a citizen of or registered to reside in Ireland. The particular application referred to by the Deputy is however one made under the terms of 2004/38/EC Directive (Free Movement) on the rights of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of Member States.

  While every effort generally is made to process these applications as soon as possible, processing times will vary having regard to the volume of applications, their complexity, the possible need to investigate, enquire into, or seek further information in relation to certain applications, and the resources available. In this particular case, I am informed that a decision will be made in the coming days and will issue from the Irish Embassy in Kampala.

  The Deputy may wish to note that queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited. In addition, applicants may themselves e-mail queries directly to INIS (visamail@justice.ie).


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